Colour Group GB’s Second International Conference ‘Colour in Film’ (27/03/17 – 29/03/17)

Peeping Tom trailer - image 02

Our First Project Event 

We’re introducing a special screening on Monday 27th March and then on Wednesday 29th we’ve curated a half-day of talks that relate to our project’s Eastmancolor focus. It’s our first public event, and a chance for us to present our project’s interests and even some (very initial) findings.

Our Monday screening of The Boy Who Turned Yellow (Powell, 1972) – introduced by Dr Carolyn Rickards – allows us to think about the position of Eastman Colour almost 20 years after its introduction to British cinema, when the stock had allowed colour filmmaking to become a mainstream industrial and aesthetic practice. That screening slot also includes a short presentation of amateur films taken from the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers collection held at the East Anglian Film Archive – these short films were originally filmed using a variety of colour stocks (including Eastmancolor) and will be presented here for the first time in hi-definition.

Understanding the industrial and aesthetic history of “Eastman Colour” (as it was known in the UK) is key to the project’s half-day of presentations on Wednesday. After Professor Sarah Street introduces some of the themes of our project, we have invited a series of speakers whose work parallels our own Eastman Colour work.

We’re tracking the relationship between Eastman Colour and British film laboratories (such as Technicolor, Rank (Denham), Humphries, Kay and Reeds) throughout our period and are delighted to welcome Dr Heather Heckman to give a keynote talk on the early US laboratories’ experience of Eastmancolor.

Exploring the aesthetic impact of Eastman Colour is central to our project, from analysis of individual films’ cinematography to recent debates in film restoration. Dr Keith M. Johnston will chair talks from Kirsty Sinclair Dootson, Dr Laura Mayne and Dr Richard Farmer on their related research on those themes: Kirsty will consider the colour aesthetic of Michael Powell and Otto Heller’s Peeping Tom; Laura will look at how Eastman Colour contributed to colour’s domination of British film production through the 1960s; while Richard will examine colour in a parallel industry, cinema advertising.

Given the importance of film restoration and preservation to almost all of these debates (and our project) our half-day finishes with a round table discussion hosted by Dr Paul Frith: Kieron Webb (Film Conservation Manager, BFI National Archive) and Chris Cholmondeley (StudioCanal) will focus on Eastman Colour restoration, including recent projects and their relationship to recurring debates surrounding that stock (including the availability of original negatives and prints, and issues of fading).

We’re looking forward to contributing to the Colour Group conference, and we will be sharing the highlights of the screening and presentations in blog posts here on the site over the next couple of months and via our Twitter feed during the event itself.



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